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Here in Ontario, thanks to the iron grip of the LCBO, there are many, many single malts which we simply don't see. Tomatin is one of them. Which is surprising since, at its peak of production in 1974, it eclipsed Glenfiddich as the most productive distillery in Scotland, pumping out 2.6 million gallons of whisky. So you would think the distillery, founded in 1897, would still have some reach out here...
However, things have changed. The 1980s happened, and the distillery struggled, eventually cutting production down to its present day output of 1.1 million gallons. The 18 year old, introduced to the world in 2006, spent most of its time in refill American oak casks, and married in oloroso sherry butts prior to bottling. Thank you to Johanne McInnis for this sample.
The colour is a cloudy medium gold. This is beautifully malty on the nose, with milk chocolate, maple and butterscotch. Apples and cinnamon. Lots of fruitcake from fine oloroso sherry casks. Very honeyed. Sweet and lovely. A few drops of water bring out a bit of smoke.
On the palate, very sharp honey with some heat and spice. The slightest hint of peat. Oaky, warm, with darker chocolate and nutmeg. Water warms it up even more.
The finish has orange chocolate at the fore. Long and deep, with more apple cinnamon. This is an incredibly complex whisky: sweet, spicy, chocolatey and absolutely wonderful. I had a dram of the 12 at the Canny Man's in Edinburgh and loved it; but this is a whole other realm of complexity. In case you are interested, Jim Murray scores this a 92.5.